Dear Hollywood: I Dare You To Stop Remakes…

Trust us, we hear you bitching. They’re remaking [insert name of old horror movie here]? WTF? Doesn’t Hollywood care about original ideas anymore? And yet, as a site that strives to present a comprehensive overview of the horror industry, we have an obligation to cover these films whether we like them or not. That’s our job. Because they make the news on practically a daily basis, by not covering them we’d be doing a disservice to B-D readers who actually would care to know that, say, one of their favorite horror films from the 1970s or `80s (or now `90s!) is next up in Hollywood’s frantic rush to remake anything with even a minimal amount of pre-awareness (And Soon the Darkness, anyone?)

That doesn’t necessarily mean we like it any more than you do – we recognize that the trend is becoming far too pervasive, particularly in that it pushes good, original ideas out of the marketplace. So to reiterate that we hear and understand the frustrations our readers have with the Tinseltown machine, over the next few months we’ll be penning a series of “open letters” to Hollywood addressing your concerns. Of course it doesn’t mean the powers-that-be will listen, necessarily – in fact, we can almost guarantee they won’t – but nevertheless it’s a great way to blow off some steam!

The first of these open letters – a (fair warning) lengthy one written by B-D reporter Chris Eggertsen – focuses on (you guessed it!) horror movie remakes, the most widespread money-grubbing trend plaguing the horror genre today. See inside for the full rant!
Dear Hollywood,

Omigod, how are you, rock star? Long time no talk! What’s new? Are the renovations on the house coming right along? I hope so. You deserve them, really. And the kids? Did you get them into that advanced placement preschool you were telling me so much about? They’re like little Einsteins, yes, I know. Crazy smart. Who says eleven months is too young to start a formal education? It’s a big, bad world out there…and besides, they’re special.

Anyway, I wanted to write because there’s something that’s been bothering me lately – like, really bothering me – and I thought I’d run it past you to get your thoughts. Of course I should specify, I guess, that by “get your thoughts” I don’t mean coverage written by an intern or a paid reader (I know it’s easy to get the two confused). I mean like your real thoughts – the ones you hold up in that genius-level brain of yours.

Anyway, do you have a second by chance? No? Ok, perfect. I’ll just run it through your assistant then. It would be absolutely great, though, if you could have them send out a formal “pass” letter at some point before the end of the year. I mean, if you aren’t too busy developing that sequel to `No Strings Attached’. That Ashton Kutcher, boy, he’s like our new Cary Grant!

Look Hollywood, I know things have been a little rocky for you lately, and I get it. The times, they are `a changin’, and all that jazz. Truly, it’s hard out there for everybody. But I’ve also started worrying about you a bit. It’s just that, well…the last few years I’ve been noticing that you’ve become a little…hmm, how can I put this delicately…remake-obsessed? And it’s beginning to seem a little…desperate?

Listen, I don’t mean for that to sound harsh, and I hope you don’t take it the wrong way. But seriously, it’s kind of whorish. People are talking. And really, why? Is everything ok?

Alright, so maybe being harsh is a necessary part of causing you to seriously think about what you’re doing and make a change. So in that spirit I’m gonna have to be a little honest here – I’m actually a little pissed at you.

But hey, it’s not just me! There are a lot of other people who are starting to feel the same way. And some of them are actually, like, angry. They’re called nerds…or geeks, as some of them prefer to be addressed. Maybe you’ve heard about them at one of your marketing seminars?

So seeing as this is an open letter – oh, did I forget to mention that? – I’m actually speaking for a lot of people here, including the super-duper angry ones. So I’m gonna have to get a little angry too. I’m going to have to hurl a few invectives and beat my fists a little. It’s nothing personal, really it isn’t; I’m only doing it because I care.

But look, I also think I speak for most everyone by making it clear that I actually don’t hate all remakes. Every once in awhile they’re cool! That’s because some of them are good, even great movies – in some cases better than their inspirations – usually in cases where there’s a ton of room for improvement on the original material.

Take, for example, Alexandre Aja’s The Hills Have Eyes…in my estimation a superior film to Wes Craven’s original. Looking back further, I would similarly point to John Carpenter’s The Thing (a remake of Nyby/Hawks’ The Thing From Another World) or David Cronenberg’s The Fly (remade from the 1958 Kurt Neumann film), both of which are generally held in higher esteem than their predecessors. But those few examples are small in number relative to the huge amount of awful, pointless remakes that are regularly taking up precious space at our nation’s multiplexes year after year. And sorry to say, but you can’t deny that it’s pretty much all your fault.

Before I get too far into this, I should also take care to point out that I’m focusing on remakes not because they are the only problem area I see in the current cinematic climate – far from it – but rather because, at least in terms of the horror genre, they are the most representative indicator of the sorry overall state of your output at the present time…the arguable nadir of your (sorry) creative bankruptcy.

I get that Hollywood is a business. Businesses are driven by bottom lines. Capitalizing on the name of an established property is seen as less risky than putting an entirely new idea out into the marketplace to sink or swim on its own merits. This is why Apple continues to put out new versions of the iPhone instead of debuting an entirely new smart phone every year – because there’s no reason, from a financial perspective, to switch up a winning formula. In the scheme of the telecommunications industry, this makes sense.

But that’s not a comparison that flies as a way to excuse your laziness as you continue bombarding us with uninspired remakes of older films for the purposes of lining your own pockets (here’s where I start getting angry, RAAR!!) It might be easier for you to try and convince us that the businesses of selling phones and selling movies are the same – hell, maybe you’ve even convinced yourselves of it at this point – but you’d be wrong at best and bald-faced liars at worst.

As a culture, we do not look to our smart phones for inspiration. They do not illuminate our dreams. They don’t function as portals to an exciting alternate reality. iPhones are not art, by the standard definition of art. There may be an art that goes into designing them, but at the end of the day they are utilitarian devices, created by scientific minds for the express purpose of making our lives easier.

I probably don’t have to tell you this, but movies are not utilitarian; movies exist for a purpose outside the realm of day-to-day convenience or survival. They are not a necessary component to getting by in daily life. We don’t rely on them for communication, or for educating our children, or for learning about what’s going on in the world. We have books and the internet for that.

Films serve a different purpose. They are stories told with moving imagery that hold the promise of removing us temporarily from the struggles of our daily lives. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, they fit squarely within the category of self-actualization – the least vital component, based on that paradigm, necessary for basic human survival.

But that doesn’t mean movies aren’t important. In the realm of the arts – which are vital for the creation of a culture, if not a functioning society – they are perhaps not as valued among elites as books or as music or as live performance, but like all art forms movies nevertheless serve the purpose of communicating what it means to exist in the world, as expressed through the lens of human creativity.

My point in all of this leads up to the greater question of “why do we care?” Why do we care if you continually throw retreads and sequels and (lately) prequels and comic book adaptations and lame post-converted 3-D pop-up books at us? Why do we care that most of them are bad? Why do we care that original ideas written specifically for the big screen are sorely lacking in today’s marketplace? Why do we care that originality of thought in filmmaking seems to be pushed to the fringes more and more with each passing year?

My answer would be that we care because film – like all other art forms – serves to nourish our inner lives, and as such we’ve come to depend on them on a deeper level. Watching half-assed remakes of good movies, and some not-so-good movies, doesn’t provide the nourishment we need. They’re like the Sweet Tarts of cinema – all sugar and artificial coloring. They don’t stir us. Aspiring filmmakers don’t grow up thinking “gee, I hope I get the chance to remake `A Nightmare on Elm Street’ one day.” Aspiring filmmakers – at least the ones I’ve met – grow up thinking, “I have this really great idea that has come from my own head, and I can’t wait to share it with the world.”

Isn’t that what painters do? Isn’t that what musicians do? Take inspiration from other places and use those inspirations to create their own unique vision? You don’t see any new bands “reimagining” Exile on Main Street – and if they do, they’re called “The Rolling Clones” and they lack any ambition beyond playing a few local dives for the rest of their careers. Have you ever heard of another novelist “remaking” Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls or Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath? That would be ridiculous, right?

You may say it’s like comparing apples and oranges – that music and literature and cinema are different beasts entirely. And you’d be right, to an extent. But in their broadest strokes they all serve more or less the same function – giving people a fresh way of looking at the world through the lens of creative expression. Opening our minds to new ideas and possibilities.

The simple fact is, we don’t need this many remakes; they’re a waste of space. They push unique, imaginative works out of the marketplace. Besides, we know that the public will pay to see original movies that aren’t based on a pre-existing source. We have proof. E.T.. Star Wars. Alien. Back to the Future. Scream. The Sixth Sense. You want more recent examples? Paranormal Activity. Inception. Avatar.

And yet, particularly as it pertains to the horror genre, you’re hedging your bets more and more with “reboots” of films both classic and not-so-classic. Don’t get me wrong – sequels and empty 3-D distractions are guilty too, but remakes are by far the worst offender. Yes, you could certainly make the argument that they’ve been around for decades now so what’s the harm, and the first part of that statement would be true. But the simple fact is that you’ve never before produced this many in the span of only a few years.

It’s sort of like those who claim that climate change isn’t a real problem. Periods of warming on Earth are a natural occurrence, they say, so why should we be worried? It’ll all work itself out in the end. The response to that of course would be that because average global temperatures have never risen this dramatically in any of those other oft-cited examples, they simply aren’t comparable.

It’s the same thing with remakes. Yes, they’ve always been around, but never to this extent. And we as the viewing audience, and you, too, Hollywood, can’t look the other way this time. I get it, you’re busy, you don’t have time to sit down and contemplate these sorts of things. But just do me a favor and take a moment…put down the Blackberry…close your eyes, breathe (you know, like how you learned at that new facial yoga studio). Now open your eyes…and have a good hard stare at yourself in the mirror. Does what you see make you feel proud?

Let’s be frank (like I haven’t been already!) Ever since the monster success of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake in 2003, you have gone absolutely crazy in your rush to remake any title with even a modicum of popular awareness. That’s never really happened before. David Cronenberg’s excellent The Fly was a box-office hit in 1986, but did you see a glut of awful remakes following in its wake? A couple, maybe, but it didn’t become a trend. Sure, that was smack dab in the middle of a period filled to the brim with increasingly lame slasher sequels, so you could certainly make the case that the marketplace was merely suffering from a different problem at the time.

But that excuse doesn’t quite cut it – because we still have sequels, and now prequels, too, and an insane amount of comic book adaptations, on top of all the remakes or “reimaginings” or whatever you’re choosing to call them this year. The problem is larger, and much worse, and much more diversified now than it ever has been.

2010 saw the release of A Nightmare on Elm Street, a remake of the 1984 slasher classic that cemented Wes Craven’s status as a master of horror. I’m sure its success was discussed at your Monday morning meetings and such. The film was both a bust with most fans and critically panned, even by the horror press. It wasn’t a good movie. It wasn’t scary. It was nowhere near as atmospheric as the original film. That was the consensus. But hey, it made pretty good money, right?

Sadly, it’s become an all too common story. Remake an iconic horror film in the least imaginative way possible and shovel it in the mouths of the squalling hordes. Just market the hell out of it and they’ll show up. And guess what? It works for you, usually. The Friday the 13th remake opened to $40 million on to a total gross of $65mil. For NOES the score was a $32mil opening, $63mil total. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: $28mil opening, $80mil total. The budget on these normally doesn’t top $30 million, meaning you’re making back what you spent more or less on opening weekend. You know the numbers; it’s your job to know the numbers. And the numbers aren’t too shabby. That much is clear.

But here’s the thing: the financial rewards you reap in the wake of these remakes are merely Band-Aids on a larger problem. Theatrical audiences are losing faith at a rapid pace. They are becoming disenchanted by the cynical idea behind all of it, which is that audiences don’t actually expect more than slapdash, redundant easy sells without a lick of soul or intelligence. That’s an offensive notion to a lot of people. And they’re letting themselves be heard.

Take away all of the manipulative box-office numbers, bolstered by unconscionable 3-D surcharges and rising ticket prices, and attendance at movie theaters in 2010 was down eight percent from 2009. That’s the lowest number of admissions since 1995, despite the rise in U.S. population since then. You know all that. Those are not fun numbers to comprehend in the boardroom. It’s a huge drop, and sadly indicative of what’s happening now. People are losing faith in the theatrical experience, not only because it has become so expensive but because the unimaginative product you’re presenting them with simply isn’t giving them a reason to keep going back. Remakes are a huge part of that problem.

And another thing: we know you aren’t making these things for artistic reasons, so stop attempting to disguise your obvious ploy for easy box office with hollow talk of being attentive to the needs of the fans. It’s all utter nonsense; that isn’t why you’re making these things at all, and you know it isn’t. If you really wanted to please fans with these remakes, you would have taken far more care in making them good. You never would have hired Nelson McCormick – who had already helmed the everybody-knew-it-was-awful Prom Night reboot – to remake (and completely botch) The Stepfather, one of the greatest psycho-thrillers of the 1980s.

Look, just be honest about it – you don’t want to take a risk by giving us something new and untested. Everybody knows that’s the reason. And we don’t fault you for not wanting to lose money. That’s the way the world works. But you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. Your job is to give audiences what they desire, and all indicators point to the fact that you are failing. You’re lost sight of the push-and-pull component required of being producers and studio executives – balancing the necessity of making money with the obligation to please moviegoers by making films that aren’t just empty product. The fact that you seem to have lost sight of that just goes to show how disconnected you’ve become from the public you purport to serve.

To most of us movies are an art form, or at the very least pieces of entertainment that have the capacity to transport us away from the hardships and disappointments of our daily lives. Yet in your scramble for more and more dollars you’re not only letting down the fans, you’re pushing the artists – those true visionaries who make films because they actually love making them – to the outskirts, in your apparent mandate to feed us flavorless, assembly-line model home filmmaking. If that’s what you truly believe we want, then you are sorely mistaken.

We know you’re capable of better. See any of my listed examples in the previous paragraph. That’s what makes it all the more frustrating for us as an audience. By taking the artistry out of moviemaking – the sort of artistry you’ve previously demonstrated you’re capable of fostering – you’re cheating audiences out of the quality that makes movies so special in the first place: giving audiences the privilege of seeing something they’ve never seen before, projected on an enormous screen. New, fresh experiences to take us away from our daily lives for a couple of hours. That’s Alien. That’s Blade Runner. That’s the original Halloween. Take that away and moviegoing becomes an exercise in eating overpriced snacks. Well, guess what? I can walk to the drug store a block away from my apartment and buy a three-pack of microwave popcorn at half the price. Likewise, I can sit on my couch every night and stream all the old classics on Netflix for $15 a month.

Look, I get that I’m rambling, but I can assure you it all comes from a very sincere place. So please, Hollywood, I’m asking you, with all I hold dear about the movies: stop it with the remakes. Just stop. Nobody asked for I Spit on Your Grave, 2010 edition. Who, outside of hardcore horror and exploitation fans, even remembers that movie? And does anyone really care about seeing a new Crow? The original is fine, and it’s only 17 years old. We like that movie. If we want to watch The Crow again we’ll rent it on Netflix or dust off our old VHS tape from 1995.

And Poltergeist? What do you have to go and remake Poltergeist for? That’s a really good movie. Why not have a talented writer come up with an original ghost story? Cool haunted house movies are rare. Make it look awesome and trust me, you’ll find your audience. And if it underperforms, well hey, at least you tried. I would give you credit for trying. A lot of us would.

Going further with this, most kids born in the mid `90s – who are teenagers now, by the way – probably aren’t even all that familiar with Poltergeist to begin with. Aren’t they your main concern now? The kids? Trust me, the majority of them won’t give a shit if a movie they see advertised during “American Idol” is called Poltergeist or Spooky House or Ghosties or any other gobbledy-gook title you could come up with. They just want to see a cool supernatural horror movie. Sure, most people in their 20s and 30s remember and love Poltergeist, but most of us appreciate original stuff a whole lot more. We’re “post-” everything now. We’re the ironic generation. Pandering to us will only make us despise “the system” even more.

The highest-grossing horror movie last year was Shutter Island. Not a remake. That movie made a healthy $128 million domestic due to a combination of factors, but one major element was undoubtedly Martin Scorsese. He is a proven filmmaker, one of the greatest of all time. Not to mention, he is now a brand unto himself. That film’s chances of crossing the $100 million mark would have been much more limited had his name not been plastered across the poster.

The second highest-grossing horror film from last year, and counting: Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky. Another major filmmaker with growing name value. An original idea. Not a remake.

So instead of expending your resources producing and marketing half-assed reboots of old titles, why not spend more time marketing the actual filmmakers? Darren Aronofsky is making a bizarre psychological thriller about a ballerina coming unhinged? Sign me up. The Coen Bros. could be directing a horror movie next? I’m in! We like it when directors we admire have a new original movie coming out. That’s cool and interesting.

Don’t have an established filmmaker to market? No problem. Then market the idea. Take a chance on a new director with an original vision and a concept that can be summed up in a couple of sentences. Cool. We’re not asking for Ingmar Bergman. We’re asking for quality mainstream entertainment, with a little art mixed in for good measure. We’re asking for the opportunity to check out something new.

Going back to Shutter Island and Black Swan for a moment – people saw those two films for the following reasons: 1) they were good movies; 2) they were effectively marketed and released; 3) they were made by filmmakers with name value. But let’s get back to the first two points, which almost never contribute to a film’s commercial success unless they work in tandem: Good movies. Effectively marketed and released.

The lesson here is that people will see your movies if you focus more on making them good and less on satisfying every segment of the viewing audience by trotting out old brands. Latching on to a title that is a known commodity just to cash in breeds laziness. You are much less likely to focus on the content than you are the name, and attempting to capitalize on that name. But A Nightmare on Elm Street 2010 is not A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984. Samuel Bayer is not Wes Craven.

There are tons of great ideas and scripts floating around out there that are marketable. There really are. Give us some of those and stop attempting to remake every minor slasher movie from the 1980s that most people don’t even care about anymore. And by the way, just because audiences are still paying to watch your half-baked remakes doesn’t mean they respect you for them. I’m sure the money smells nice, but money goes away. It’s tough to earn back the respect you’ve lost.

Again, deep breaths. Blackberry, down. Mirror. Are you happy with what you see?

Just take a look at the music industry. Those labels and their executives felt untouchable in their gilded towers, and then Napster came along and pulled the rug right out from under them. The people were dissatisfied with continuing to pay $15.99 for shitty albums made up of one good single and eleven mediocre songs, and Napster and other illegal download sites gave the public a chance to hear them for free. All the crackdowns and threats of legal action didn’t stop the revolution from happening. Now the major labels are mere shadows of their former selves. This all happened in the span of a few short years.

Make no mistake – the moviegoing public will turn on you, just like music fans did with the record industry. It’s already started. With every second-rate remake you release they will realize more and more you aren’t in it for them but rather your own bottom line. It’s to the benefit of your long term survival – particularly the survival of the traditional theatrical release model – not to continue down this path. With every half-assed gimmick you throw out to try and prevent audience erosion, people will continue to find ways to circumvent the traditional theater-going experience if they feel suckered. Believe me.

Sure, you can blame the recent audience erosion trend on the internet and home streaming formats that make it easier than ever before for audiences to watch anything they want in the comfort of their own homes, and that’s definitely a huge part of it. But what you don’t seem to realize is that by coming up with a bunch of cheap, uninspired “fixes” – remakes, gimmicky 3-D crud, movies based on board games – you’re doing all the wrong things to stop the theatrical model from crumbling. It won’t last. We won’t stick around if you continue on this way.

I have worked in the halls of a movie studio. I have personally interacted with dozens of executives (your “elves”, if you will). I have heard the depressing, uninspiring way they talk. One of them even sat me down one day, to my great disheartenment, to pooh-pooh the idea that mainstream movies should any longer be informed by artistry. Great, good for her; but is that really why she got into the movie industry? To make `Big Momma’s House 3′? Maybe, I don’t know, but I guess I just don’t understand that. Then again, I don’t understand in any way shape or form how most of these people think anyway. I don’t want to understand. That’s not my job. It’s my job as a moviegoer and as a journalist to point out the fact that the public is being shortchanged.

And another thing (this is me being angry again) – stop blaming us for your own shortcomings. Yes, sometimes we go and pay for the half-baked product you put out. Sometimes we power that product to a $30mil opening weekend off a $19mil budget. But you know, most of the people going to see these movies don’t have options. They live in towns of 100,000 people with maybe two multiplexes and nary an arthouse theater in sight. You’re going to blame them for wanting to engage in the great American past-time of moviegoing by seeing When a Stranger Calls because that’s one of the only options they’re being offered? You’re going to blame them for not driving 45 minutes to the nearest medium-sized city to hit an independent theater playing Frozen? It’s like offering up a buffet of only Twinkies and Doritos to a bunch of tired, hungry people and then concluding that’s all they want to eat because they decided not to walk two miles to get to the nearest salad bar that most of them don’t even know is there.

Well gee, I guess people don’t care about original ideas because `House of the Devil’ wasn’t a theatrical hit. It’s faulty logic. Magnolia doesn’t have near the financial resources that a major studio does in the theatrical arena. House of the Devil had a tiny marketing budget. Its theatrical run was more a courtesy to the filmmakers than anything else.

Here is where you might point to a big-studio movie boasting an original idea that bombed – last October’s My Soul to Take, for example. Nobody saw that one either, and we gave it a wide release, you might say. But that movie was just bad – not to mention that you had to go and make it 3-D for no other reason than to charge those ridiculous elevated ticket prices. That’s why we didn’t see it. But hey, at least it was an attempt at doing something original – at least you tried. You win some, you lose some. That’s business.

But if you, Hollywood, would actually take a chance on producing, marketing, and giving a proper big-screen release to a film like, say, House of the Devil – cheap, scary, original fare by a new, exciting director – I’m telling you that if you handled it correctly a lot of horror fans would see it. Good films. Effectively marketed and released.

Look at that movie’s VOD performance. It did really well. People want to see films like that, and they are willing to pay $10 to watch them in their living rooms. But we aren’t a bunch of shut-ins. That’s why we show up for your shitty remakes at the movie theaters, even though we know they’re going to be bad – because we want to go to the movies. Against all odds, we are still enamored of the big-screen experience. There is something elemental about it.

But maybe I’m not being 100% fair. I’m not attempting to imply that you never take chances on original horror. You just don’t do it nearly enough. Look at a movie like The Last Exorcism – a perfect example of an original horror idea’s potential for solvency in today’s marketplace. That movie cost $1.8 million to make and grossed over $66 million worldwide. People generally liked it. It has a 73% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s huge. That’s the kind of stuff we want more of. And by the way, I would take My Soul to Take (minus the terrible 3-D!) over Black Christmas 2006 any day of the week.

You’re lucky that in this country we’re still largely hard-wired to see movies on the big-screen. We’re Americans. We like spectacle. People will go and see the Prom Night remake in theaters because they want a reason to engage in an activity that has become so fundamental to our shared cultural experience. But your advantage in that sense is dissipating. We are slowly beginning to evolve away from that ideal, and with the internet we now have the tools to do so the more and more dissatisfied we feel.

That doesn’t mean we don’t care about preserving the big-screen experience. There is magic in seeing our fantasies projected on a large canvas; there is a mystery in it; there is nothing like it, in any other medium. It’s simply impossible to replicate on a small screen the experience of watching, say, Jurassic Park in a theatrical setting.

I want that to survive. I’d venture to say that a majority of people do. But not caring and feeling disillusioned are two very different things, and we are disillusioned. The recent attendance numbers bear that out. Despite the fact that indie horror films like House of the Devil seem to be catching on in the VOD market, there’s something depressing about genre fans in rural and suburban areas not being given the opportunity to see these quality horror films in their local theaters.

As with our politicians, you, Hollywood, are engaged in a public trust with the viewing audience. The film marketplace isn’t a dictatorship. Go around acting that way and you’re Hosni Mubarak. We will topple you. We have the power to take away everything you hold dear.

So Hollywood, you might just want to calm down and stop getting defensive for a second – Blackberry, breaths, mirror – and consider that maybe, just maybe, everything I’m telling you is for your own good. See me and the rest of us movie fans as whatever you want – “normals”, demographics, highly functional sloth-creatures – but it would seriously behoove you not to see us as stupid. Assuming that will only cause you to grow progressively lazier, and the business model that results will do nothing but harm you in the end.

We are living in a brave new world where those jaded by the theatrical experience have every reason to stay at home eating ice cream on the couch while streaming movies on Netflix. So don’t give us a reason to feel jaded. All the 3-D and visual effects trickery and brand name recognition in the world won’t keep the erosion at bay; those things are simply a veneer to cover up empty storytelling. We’re smarter than that. Horror fans, perhaps the most underestimated audience of all, are much more sophisticated than it is probably comfortable for you to believe.

Movies are, and always have been, at their core an expression of our humanity – our desires, our fantasies, our need to break free from the boxes we feel confined to. You cut out their soul, you treat them as brand names instead of, well, movies, and you’re left with films that might as well be iPhones. Sleek, colorful, diverting…product. Eyes without the sparkle. Sleep without the dream.

Whew! Sorry, I get a little dramatic sometimes. I think I’m done now.

Anyway, I hope there are no hard feelings. And good luck with those renovations! Oh and by the way your kids are the cutest…I can just see the brilliance sparkling behind their little eyes (I mean, they’re your children, after all).

And let’s do dinner soon, seriously. Just remember, you are amazing.

Smooches,

Christopher J. Eggertsen
Writer, Bloody-Disgusting.com

P.S. I have this movie idea…I’m describing it as The Hangover meets Pan’s Labyrinth, but aimed at `tweens. Any interest?